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Drivers' Hours (Exemption for Reservists)

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

I am pleased to announce today that the European Commission has agreed to the Government’s request for an exemption from Regulation (EC) 561/2006 on drivers’ hours for professional drivers operating solely within the UK when they are reservists undergoing military training or providing instruction to members of a Cadet Corps approved by the Secretary of State for Defence.

This exemption, which has been granted in accordance with the provisions in Article 14.1 of Regulation (EC) 561/2006, applies to the weekly rest requirements in Article 8(2) and 8(6) of Regulation (EC) 561/2006. It will enable a driver who finishes his normal driving duties on a Friday to complete a 34 hour period of military training as a volunteer reservist or as an instructor in the Cadet Corps and then resume his normal driving duties again on a Monday morning.

The following safeguards have been incorporated into the exemption to ensure that road safety is not jeopardised:

the exemption will apply to 15 days’ annual camp and 10 weekend training sessions per annum—a total of 35 days. Weekend training will not be allowed to take place on consecutive weeks (other than in respect of the 15-day annual camp);

a regular daily rest period of 11 hours must be taken between the end of weekend training and start of work for the primary employer;

a regular weekly rest period of 45 hours must be taken no later than at the end of the sixth day following a period of weekend training.

Until such time as the exemption can be transposed into domestic legislation, it will be implemented by administrative means. The Ministry of Defence will be issuing guidelines that outline how drivers can manage their volunteer reserve service in accordance with the exemption, and a copy of the European Commission’s Decision will be published on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency website.